Election 2011: Did you know?

Friday 15 January 2016 16.44
Election 2011 heralded a sea change in Irish politics
Election 2011 heralded a sea change in Irish politics

By Political Analyst Sean Donnelly

A rundown of the key facts and figures from Election 2011.

# 1 The 2011 election had the biggest number of retirements to date at 39, which was well above the previous highest of 29 in June 1927.

This number included the three deputies that had retired earlier but for whom the by-elections had not been held  – George Lee (FG Dublin South), Martin Cullen (FF Waterford) and Dr James McDaid (FF Donegal North-East).

# 2 There was a high rate of attrition in election 2011, with 45 outgoing deputies losing their seats, up 15 on 2007. There were 84 new TDs (49 in 2007) in the 31st Dáil, eight of whom were former deputies.

# 3 It was all change in Cork South-West and Kerry South as all three TDs returned in both three-seaters were new members.

There were also three new deputies in 12 other constituencies, which contrasts sharply with 2007 when only two constituencies, Cork South-Central and Dublin North, elected three new deputies.

With all this change, it came as no surprise that not a single constituency returned the same deputies as 2007.

# 4 A record 566 candidates contested the 2011 general election, which was well ahead of the previous high of 484 in 1997.

# 5 Two constituencies, Laois-Offaly and Mayo, had the same quota of 12,360 in 2011. They also happen to be the home constituencies of the previous and present Taoiseach.

# 6 The Fianna Fáil vote dropped by the same amount, 29.6 percentage points, in two constituencies  – Dublin Central and Laois-Offaly.

They also happen to be the home constituencies of the previous two taoisigh.

# 7 The People Before Profit Alliance won its first two Dáil seats in election 2011, including one for Richard Boyd Barrett. It was joined by two Socialist Party deputies and WUAG leader Seamus Healy to give the United Left Alliance five TDs in the 31st Dáil.

# 8 Election 2011 promised to be the election of the new parties but some of them never even got to the starting line.

In the end, New Vision fielded 20 candidates and its only success was Luke "Ming" Flanagan in Roscommon-South Leitrim, with most of the others failing to save their expenses.

Another New Vision called Fís Nua ran five candidates but all did poorly, as did the four who ran for CPPC (An Chomhdháil Phobail/The People's Convention) in the Cork area.

# 9 The most predictable constituency: Dublin West.

# 10 The most surprising constituency: Take your pick!

# 11 Highest first preference vote per party:

Fine Gael: Mayo 64.96%

Labour: Dublin North West 43.15%

Fianna Fáil: Carlow-Kilkenny 28.1%

Sinn Féin: Donegal South West 32.97%

# 12 Fine Gael got the largest increase in its vote in Dublin Mid-West where its first preference was up 19 percentage points.

Labour got its best increase of 23 percentage points in Dublin North-West. In contrast Fianna Fáil suffered its greatest loss of support in Dublin North-West where its vote was down by 37 percentage points.

# 13 Fine Gael won a record four out of five seats in Mayo and won three seats in four constituencies.

Labour won two seats in six constituencies, all in Dublin.

Fianna Fáil won two seats in only two constituencies, Cork South-Central, the home of present leader Micheál Martin, and Laois-Offaly, the home turf of its previous leader.

# 14 Fine Gael won a record 76 seats in election 2011, beating its previous best of 70 in November 1982.

It gained two seats in three constituencies, Carlow-Kilkenny, Cavan-Monaghan and Dublin Mid-West.

# 15 Michael Noonan was the leading vote-getter in election 2011 with 1.54 quotas (13,291 first preferences) in Limerick City and was followed by Enda Kenny with 1.41 (17,472) in Mayo and Shane Ross with 1.41 (17,075) in Dublin South.

Mr Kenny's and Mr Ross's first preference vote moved them up to 16th and 21st place on the top vote-getters list to date, which is headed by Richard Mulcahy, who got 22,005 in 1923.

# 16 Fine Gael got the best ever seats bonus in election 2011 as it managed to win 45.78% of the seats from just 36.1% of the first preference vote and gained a seat bonus of 16.

Labour managed a seat bonus of five but Fianna Fáil was again the big loser as it won ten seats less than its first preference vote warranted.

# 17 A record 25 women were elected in 2011, up two on the previous best which was achieved in 1992, 2002 and 2007.

Six women deputies retired at this election and eight lost their seats. Fourteen women were elected for the first time with two former deputies regaining their seats.

Róisín Shortall is the longest-serving woman in the 31st Dáil, with over 19 years' service since 1992.

Mary Harney is the longest-serving woman deputy, with 30 years' continuous service, having won nine elections from 1981 to 2007.

Fourteen of the 92 women elected to Dáil Éireann were called Mary.

# 18 The government formed in 2011 is the fourth Fine Gael/Labour coalition.

The 1994-1997 Rainbow Coalition was the first between Fine Gael, Labour and Democratic Left and the only one to be formed without a general election.

Fianna Fáil has been part of 19 of the 29 governments since the foundation of the State and in power on its own on 14 occasions.

# 19 Enda Kenny is the 13th Taoiseach and the fifth from Fine Gael. John Bruton was the shortest-serving Taoiseach from December 1994 to June 1997.

# 20 The turnout has been in decline since 1969 but the 2007 election reversed that trend with the turnout up 4.5 points on the previous election in 2002.

The 2011 election showed further improvement with the turnout up another three percentage points.

# 21 Fianna Fáil has won a total of 17,536,438 first preference votes or 41.86% since the first PR election in 1922.

Fine Gael has aggregated 12,890,666 or 30.77% and Labour's total is 4,828,562 or 11.53%.

# 22 The 4,618 general election and 133 by-election seats have been held by 1,241 individual TDs with each deputy serving an average of four terms.

# 23 On average, the Dáil is made up of 72% outgoing TDs, 22% new and 6% former deputies. Limerick West has never returned a former member.

# 24 Patrick Smith is the longest-serving member of Dáil Éireann, having won 17 elections between 1923 and 1973.

Enda Kenny is the longest-serving member in the 31st Dáil, having been first elected at a by-election in 1975 which was caused by the death of his father.

His 12 election victories and 40 years of continuous service to date leaves him in 16th place on the list of longest-serving members in Dáil Éireann.

Most of the longest serving members in the present Dáil are members of the Government  – Enda Kenny, Ruairi Quinn (38 years' service), Michael Noonan (34), Richard Bruton (34) and Dinny McGinley (34)  – with Fianna Fáil's Willie O'Dea (34) the only exception.

# 25 Fine Gael got the largest share  – 29%  –- of all transfers in 2011, down from 31% in 2007.

Labour got 18% with Fianna Fáil down from 26% in 2007 to 17% and Sinn Féin doubled its 2007 share to 7%.

# 26 Patrick McCartan TD for Leix-Offaly 1918-1923, contested the Presidential election in 1945.

His daughter, the late Deirdre Drew, was married to Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners.

Comedian Brendan O'Carroll's mother Maureen O'Carroll was a Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central from 1954-1957.

Actor Don Wycherley's father Florence Wycherley was an Independent Farmers' TD for Cork West from 1957 to 1961.

By Political Analyst Sean Donnelly